Genocide Trial in Guatemala

mother and child

Mayan mother and child in the highland region of El Quiche, Guatemala (c) 2013 emily a willard

I am writing today to share information about huge things that have been going on in Guatemala.

I could get into infinitesimal detail if you wish, but I will put it in simple terms for now – I have explained my passion for Guatemala in previous posts, and have dedicated some of my art to bringing awareness about Guatemala and raising funds to support human rights defenders (see more here).

For nearly a month, the Guatemalan courts have been hearing a trial against former military dictator Efraín Rios Montt and top military commander José Rodríguez Sánchez for genocide and crimes against humanity. For nearly a month the 30-year silence around the genocide and the horrible crimes has been broken. Mayan people, the target of the genocide, have been able to stand in a Guatemalan court and tell of the horrors they endured. However, late yesterday evening, a judge made an attempt to annul the trial and return it to pretrial phase, before reaching a verdict. As of this morning the attempt to annul was declared illegal and the trial will hopefully continue today. Security for those testifying, and the safety of the the judges and prosecutors and witnesses is at risk. May peace and justice prevail.

If you would like more information and see examples of some excellent reporting check out the following English-language sources:

  • An article by an American journalist, Allan Nairn, explaining his thoughts of why there was a movement to annul the case, here. This explains the clandestine powers lurking in the shadows and the involvement of the current Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina.
  • A day by day account of trial developments, here.
  • On-the-ground reporting by NISGUA, here.
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